Contractor receives £90k fine for unlicensed asbestos removal

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Norwich-based Y Construction has been fined £90,000 for carrying out asbestos cleaning work without a license

Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard how Y Construction began a project to refurbish parts of Rose Lane Business Centre in Norwich, including a former kitchen and canteen. Works began in April 2015 and various phases continued into November 2015. During the later asbestos removal phase, there was significant exposure.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the labourers employed by the contractor to carry out demolition works were mostly foreign nationals with limited understanding of English, little awareness of asbestos on site and no previous asbestos awareness training.

The investigation also found that no asbestos survey had been conducted before the project started. When one was carried out following HSE intervention, it revealed licensed asbestos debris on the ground level within the area the size of a football pitch. Despite these findings and surveyor’s recommendations, the unlicensed contractor proceeded to clean the debris for the first week of October 2015, dry sweeping and cleaning the area with a vacuum cleaner.

Y Construction Ltd of The Union Building, Rose Lane, Norwich was found guilty of breaching Sections 8(1), 10(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £7,184.04.

HSE inspector Kasia Urbaniak said: “The dangers associated with asbestos, including licensed asbestos, are well known and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from the HSE website.”

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